Town Officials Gather Info on Single-Stream Recycling


Town officials are trying to figure out whether and just how New Canaan could benefit by incorporating single-stream recycling into its solid waste collection system.

Right now, residents sign on with private haulers to collect trash and (many) bring their own recyclables to the Transfer Station to sort them. In single-stream recycling, a contracted company could send a collection truck to pick up from a designated, distributed bin commingled paper, plastic, glass and other recyclable materials.

The matter of single-stream recycling—for which New Canaanites voiced support in a recent Conservation Commission survey—arose at the most recent Board of Selectmen meeting. There, the selectmen approved a $31,000 one-year contract with City Carting to haul and dispose commingled recyclables from the Transfer Station (New Canaan through that contract gets an annual rebate of more than $27,000). First Selectman Rob Mallozzi requested an update on single-stream recycling from DPW Superintendent of Solid Waste Jimmy Rogers, who confirmed that he’s investigating.

Asked after the meeting about the possibility, Mallozzi said many residents do a great job now of bringing their own recyclable material and sorting it.

“But the other component is that we have all those folks that don’t use the dump because they live so far out of town that it’s not convenient,” Mallozzi said. “They don’t have that [recycling] ability through their present-day garbage collection system with their private haulers, so there are no mechanics out there for them to be able to separate their recyclables from their garbage, and thus help everyone in terms of this single-stream idea.”

The Conservation Commission discovered  through its “Town Green Survey” run May to September of last year—it received a response from about 5 percent of New Canaan’s 7,500 households—that New Canaanites pay attention to recycling and strongly favor single-stream (among other things). About 96 percent of respondents said they would like their garbage company to take all recyclable materials, the survey said.

Asked about what typically happens as a result of switching to single-stream recycling, Commission Chair Cam Hutchins told said that it typically increases compliance—in other words, more people recycling their paper, plastic and so on, instead of leaving it in the regular garbage stream.

“We have to figure out how it could work, so that’s a goal of ours as a commission,” Hutchins said. “It could be hard to imagine, when you think about it, on Ponus Ridge or West Road, somebody wheeling a bin to the end of their driveway.”

2 thoughts on “Town Officials Gather Info on Single-Stream Recycling

  1. We’ve had single stream recycling here in Greenwich for a few years now. We all contract with private haulers here. The haulers grumbled at first, but it is a huge success. It feels funny at first to throw newspaper, plastic bags cans and bottles all into one bin. Once a week my hauler picks up recyclables. Once a week he picks up trash, of which there isn’t much any more.

  2. The New Canaan Town Council has also been asking about this for a few years now. We’ve learned that people in town do want it, that it will require changes to the design of our transfer station and that Pubic Works leadership is supportive of the idea. And, finally, it will require the (roughly) 15 private haulers in town to make changes to either their trucks or to their routes and this will inevitably add expense. But, recycling is worth it and this is the most efficient way and we should keep working toward a single-stream recycling solution.

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